A common recurring defense today for a watered down life ethic is, “hey, at least I’m not killing anybody.” Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that not killing anybody is good, but we have to go way beyond that if we don’t want to be Pharisaical. When we can say, “hey, at least I don’t hate anybody,” we’re getting closer to the mark. In a violent world maybe sometimes we look the other way at times in the face of a lack of kindness, but Our Lord today reminds us to go the distance and not only not kill anybody, but actually be kind to everybody.
When tempers flair and rash words are said the best thing to do, as Our Lord teaches, is to try to make amends as soon as possible and simply apologize. If we live a life of cruel and cold justice, focusing especially on the justice due to us, we’ll be in for a surprise when the eternal Judge brings us to “court” by the same harsh standards to which we held others. As Our Lord’s prayer reminds us, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us be a little less rash in our thoughts and actions toward others and a lot kinder, especially when we’re mistreated.
Readings: Matthew 5:20–26.